Friday, November 18, 2011

Author Countries for the Top 10 Ghost Stories

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In the last post I laid out the Top 10 ghost stories for the 1st half of the 19th century. Just like I did for The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849, I thought it would be fun to list the author countries. Here it goes:

10. The Ghostly Visiter; or, The Mysterious Invalid (1833)

Anonymous author, likely from England as it was published in a "Penny Dreadful" in London.

9. The Tapestried Chamber (1827)

Sir Walter Scott was Scottish.

8. Adventure of the German Student (1831)

Washington Irving was American.

7. The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet (1837)

Nathaniel Hawthorne was American.

6. The Spectral Ship (1828)

Wilhelm Hauff was German.

5. A Night in a Haunted House (1848)

This anonymous ghost story appeared in a Dublin magazine so the author was likely Irish.

4. The Mask of the Red Death (1842)

Edgar Allan Poe was American.

3. A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family (1839)

Joseph Sheridan le Fanu was Irish.

2. The Deaf and Dumb Girl (1839)

This anonymous story was translated from the French.

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1819)

Washington Irving was American.

That means four of the Top 10 scary ghost stories for this period came from Americans, two from Ireland, one from Scotland, one from Germany, one from France and one from England.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 10 Ghost Stories for the First Half of the 19th Century

Top 10 Ghost Stories for the First Half of the 19th Century.

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10. The Ghostly Visiter; or, The Mysterious Invalid (1833)

This anonymous ghost story was published in a "penny dreadful" magazine in 1833. It is one of the most chilling ghost stories in relation to an incapacitated person for this fifty year period in review.

9. The Tapestried Chamber (1827)

Sir Walter Scott was a leading proponent of supernatural tales in Europe. The Tapestried Chamber is the second oldest scary story on this countdown and contains moments of sheer terror.

8. Adventure of the German Student (1831)

Washington Irving is best known for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," but the "Adventure of the German Student" is as compact a fright as one will find in a little ghost story.

7. The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet (1837)

Nathaniel Hawthorne makes his only appearance in the Top 10 with a horror tale that is superbly written. It was also an Edgar Allan Poe favorite.

6. The Spectral Ship (1828)

Wilhelm Hauff died in his mid-twenties, yet still showed early promise that he could have been one of the all time great supernatural writers. "The Spectral Ship" leaves an indelible tang of horror.

5. A Night in a Haunted House (1848)

This anonymous ghost story is the longest of the Top 10 and will make a person think twice when they hear a thump coming up the stairs.

4. The Mask of the Red Death (1842)

"The Mask of the Red Death" is perhaps Edgar Allan Poe's finest ghost story. The writing and symbolism are unparalleled for this period in question.

3. A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family (1839)

Joseph Sheridan le Fanu was the early king of the short ghost story. He would later go on to publish "Green Tea" and other ghostly classics.

2. The Deaf and Dumb Girl (1839)

This is the third anonymous story in the Top 10 and the very best of the lot. It will make you think twice when you see a quiet girl with ashen skin sit next to you on a train.

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1819)

Washington Irving's most popular ghost story--and perhaps the most popular ghost short story of all time (assuming Dickens's "A Christmas Carole" is a novella)--is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Although typically disfavored in a scary ghost story, it is one of the first to do it without losing the element of terror and it is the oldest in the Top 10, which gives the story high marks for originality and creativity. 

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology includes story introductions, author photos, annotations and a list of ghost stories read. Buy it tonight!

The Best Ghost Stories at Google Books

The Best Ghost Stories at Barnes & Noble

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Ghost Story 1800-1849 is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving

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Number 1 on my countdown of the best ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century is finally here. It may not come as a big surprise as I choose "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving. Yes, it is scary in parts, but some ghost stories on the countdown are scarier. It is also well-written, but there are others that give it a run for its money. Still, no other ghost story from this fifty year period has reached wider fame or acclaim. That is why I have picked it.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Best Ghost Story #2 from 1800-1849 is "The Deaf and Dumb Girl" that was Published Anonymously

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My pick for the second best story from 1800-1849 will come as a surprise because it is very likely you have never heard of it. Its title is "The Deaf and Dumb Girl" and I found it published anonymously in an obscure magazine. In my next post I will give away the top ghost story in this countdown.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The 3rd Best Ghost Story 1800-1849 is A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu

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We are finally at the Top 3 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. It is by one of the early masters of the short ghost story: Joseph Sheridan le Fanu (1814-1873). Unlike many of his contemporaries, Fanu wrote scary ghost stories and made no bones about offending Victorian Age sensibilities. "A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family," is, in my view, his greatest ghost story. If you want to read why (and I think Bronte's "Jane Eyre" borrowed from the tale), check out The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

4th Best Ghost Story from 1800-1849 is The Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe, the early master of horror short stories, has been relatively quiet in my countdown of the Top 40 ghost stories for the 1st half of the nineteenth century. That is primarily because he didn't write many ghost stories. In my estimation "The Mask of the Red Death" is Poe's best ghost story. It is written at a high level, chock full of symbolism, and a truly frightening tale of a visit by the dead.

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Background information on "The Mask of the Red Death" and annotations can be found in my new book on the best ghost stories (Amazon.com) or the best ghost stories (Barnes & Noble) for this crucial period in the life of scary ghost stories.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Price Drop - The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology

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As those of you who follow my posts know, I am counting the Top 40 classic ghost stories for the 1st half of the 19th century. The Top 9 of these stories are found in my recently published ghost stories anthology. This is to let you know that the price has been dropped on the book from $17.98 to only $10.98. Here is a link to the Best Ghost Stories Anthology at Amazon.